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UPDATE: Rybak, Seifert winners in county straw polls

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Stevens County Republicans attending Tuesday's precinct caucuses overwhelmingly cast gubernatorial preference ballots for Marty Seifert, and the DFL party faithful did the same for R.T Rybak.

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The Republican caucus drew about 40 people to the Morris Area High School cafeteria, according to county party chair Dan Pagel.

About 65 people attended the DFL caucus at Old # 1 Southside, and another 10 joined long enough to cast votes before leaving, said DFL county party chair Jeff Lamberty.

Both Pagel and Lamberty said turnout was down from the caucuses prior to the 2008 general election, with the governor's race being the only major state-wide race this year aside from Legislative contests.

There are 11 DFL candidates and seven Republican candidates vying to succeed Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is not running for a third term this fall.

"For a non-presidential year, midterm election, it's normal," Pagel said of the county Republican caucus turnout. "I thought the straw ballot would have brought more people out on both sides."

"It's obviously down from the last time," Lamberty said. "Compared to the last one, they were looking for delegates, not ballots like they were last time."

Seifert, a Republican and former Legislator from Marshall, was named on 21 of the 34 straw ballots cast. Rybak, the Minneapolis mayor, drew 31 votes from the DFL caucus voters.

"(Rybak) had a lot of support, especially among students," Lamberty said. "A lot of the students (from the metropolitan area) know him and like what he's done as mayor."

The Republican county convention is Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Morris American Legion.

The DFL county convention is March 6 at 9 a.m. at the Morris American Legion.

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